Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Clouds amplify ecological light pollution

Date:
March 3, 2011
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
The brightness of the nightly sky glow over major cities has been shown to depend strongly on cloud cover. In natural environments, clouds make the night sky darker by blocking the light of the stars but around urban centers, this effect is completely reversed, according to a new study.

Inside of cities clouds appear as bright objects on a dark sky. In natural environments, clouds look more like the tower in the photo: dark silhouettes against a star-lit sky.
Credit: C Kyba, PLoS ONE, 10.1371/journal.pone.0017307

The brightness of the nightly sky glow over major cities has been shown to depend strongly on cloud cover. In natural environments, clouds make the night sky darker by blocking the light of the stars but around urban centers, this effect is completely reversed, according to a new study by a group of physicists and ecologists at the Free University of Berlin (FU) and the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB).

Related Articles


"We found that overcast skies were almost three times brighter than clear at our rural location, and ten times as bright within the city itself," says the lead author of the study, Dr. Christopher Kyba, physicist at the Institute for Space Sciences at the FU. Their research was reported on March 2nd, 2011, in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

"The astronomers who founded the study of light pollution were concerned with how sky glow obscured the stars on perfectly clear nights," says Kyba, "and researchers studying the potential influences of sky glow on human or ecosystem health often cite the results from satellite measurements taken on clear nights. What our study shows is that when considering biological impact on humans and the environment, the amplification of light pollution by clouds is large, and should be taken into account."

The study compares measurements of clear and cloudy sky brightness data taken using "Sky Quality Meters" during five months in the spring and summer of 2010. Two monitoring stations took data at locations 10 and 32 km from the center of Berlin. "Recognition of the negative environmental influences of light pollution has come only recently," says Dr. Franz Hφlker, ecologist, study author, and project leader of Verlust der Nacht (VdN -- Loss of the Night).

"Now that we have developed a software technique to quantify the amplification factor of clouds, the next step is to expand our detection network. The Sky Quality Meter is an inexpensive and easy to operate device, so we hope to recruit other researchers and citizen-scientists from around the world to build a global database of nighttime sky brightness measurements." 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher C. M. Kyba, Thomas Ruhtz, Jόrgen Fischer, Franz Hφlker. Cloud Coverage Acts as an Amplifier for Ecological Light Pollution in Urban Ecosystems. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (3): e17307 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017307

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Clouds amplify ecological light pollution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110302171312.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2011, March 3). Clouds amplify ecological light pollution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110302171312.htm
Public Library of Science. "Clouds amplify ecological light pollution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110302171312.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) — One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins